THE bride and groom will have to wash their hands directly before and after the exchange of rings under strict new coronavirus rules for wedding ceremonies.
New government guidance on holding weddings and civil partnerships says guests should keep singing, shouting or playing music to a minimum to mitigate the spread of the virus.
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Ceremonies must be "concluded in the shortest reasonable time" and only include parts of the marriage that are legally required.
No more than 30 people are allowed to attend wedding ceremonies.
And as stated last week, wedding receptions can only be attended by people from a maximum of two different households – effectively banning parties.
But despite the lengthy list of rules governing ceremonies, the guidance does not state whether the father can walk the bride down the aisle.
Instead, it insists everyone must stay apart if they are from different households.
It says: "During all activity linked to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. From 4 July, 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable), are acceptable."
This suggests it is likely that giving the bride away will have to be stopped for now.
Laying out the strict rules for exchanging the rings, the document states: "Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after.
"The rings should be handled by as few people as possible."
And on music it says: "People should avoid singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets."
But many couples may have to wait until September to tie the knot because many councils are delaying ceremonies until the autumn to give venues time to adjust to social distancing requirements.
County councils that oversee registrar services told the Daily Telegraph that they could have to wait even longer than September.
Oxford county council said it would only begin a phased approach to reopening wedding venues from September 1.
And Somerset county council have demanded all venues fill out a risk assessment before any bookings take place – delaying weddings in the country for weeks at least.
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